Lao Business Vocabulary: 19 Best Examples

Are you thinking of starting a business in Laos? Well, this Lao business vocabulary list is perfect for you. Laos is an exciting place to start any new venture. After years of being a closed kingdom, it has opened up in the last 20 years, and the potential is huge. Here are some basics to get you going: Product (phalidtaphan) ຜະລິດຕະພັນ and Advertisement (kan okh sa na) ການ​ໂຄ​ສະ​ນາ​. Ready to learn more? Keep reading below!

As always, if you’re thinking about learning Lao, Ling is your one-stop shop. Don’t be put off by the fact that Lao is a tonal language. Once you have memorized a few Lao phrases, it will all start making sense. Ling has Lao business vocabulary units as well as 100’s more. Don’t miss out on it!

Why Lao Business Vocabulary Matters

Fluency in Lao business vocabulary is a strategic asset. Yep, you read that right! It not only facilitates smoother interactions but also demonstrates respect for the culture and an eagerness to engage meaningfully. By using appropriate terminology, you create a strong foundation for building relationships and advancing your business interests.

Furthermore, have you ever felt lost in a sea of business papers? Not anymore! Your vocabulary lifeboat keeps you afloat, cruising through reports and making smart decisions.

Basic Lao Business Vocabulary

EnglishLaoLao script
Trademarkkheuongmai kankhaເຄື່ອງໝາຍການຄ້າ
Market Researchkankhonkhva taradການຄົ້ນຄວ້າຕະຫຼາດ
Wholesalerphukhai nyokຜູ້ຂາຍຍົກ
Lucrativel am luanyລ້ຳລວຍ
Inflationadta ngoenfoeອັດຕາເງິນເຟີ້
Mergerkan luam tuaການລວມຕົວ
Advertisementkan okh sa naການ​ໂຄ​ສະ​ນາ​
Employeeluk changລູກ​ຈ້າງ

Imagine you’re about to step into the thrilling world of Lao business. It’s like a treasure hunt, and guess what? The clues are in the language! Don’t worry, we’re about to hand you the ultimate cheat sheet. We’re not talking about playing golf (though you can do it if you want)—we’re talking about words to use with real business partners while eating dinner or when handing out a business card! Get ready to decode the secrets of Lao business lingo and level up your game!

Basic Greetings And Courtesies In Lao

Demonstrating politeness through simple words can go a long way in establishing rapport. Let’s take a look at the basic greetings and courtesies that we can express in the business scene in Lao.

English TranslationLaoRomanization
Hello ສະບາຍດີsa-bai-dee
Good morning ສະ​ບາຍ​ດີ​ຕອນ​ເຊົ້າsa bai di ton sao
Good afternoonສະ​ບາຍ​ດີ​ຕອນ​ສວາຍsa bai di ton suaai
Good evening ສະ​ບາຍ​ດີ​ຕອນ​ແລງsa bai di ton aelng
Thank you ຂອບໃຈ kop-jai
You’re welcome ບໍ່ມີຂ້ອຍ baw meu koy
I’m sorry ຂ້ອຍ​ຂໍ​ໂທດkhony kho othd
How are you? ສະ​ບາຍ​ດີ​ບໍ?sa bai di bo
Very well, thank you! ດີຫຼາຍ, ຂອບໃຈ!dirai khobchai
Pleased to meet you! ຍິນ​ດີ​ທີ່​ໄດ້​ຮູ້​ຈັກ! nyin di thi dai hu chak

Negotiation And Deal Making In Lao

How about when the negotiation process starts to kick in? It’s inevitable in the business world. Thus, it is best to be communicative in negotiation-making. These are the deal-making words that we can use:

English TranslationLaoRomanization
Negotiation ການເຈລະຈາ leuang khum khuaam
Offer ຂໍ້ສະເໜີ khosanoe
Counteroffer ໂຕ້ຕອບottob
Terms and conditions ຂໍ້ກໍານົດແລະເງື່ອນໄຂkhokoanod laengeuonkhai
Agreement ຂໍ້ຕົກລົງ khotoklong
Compromise ປະນີປະນອມpani pa nom
Win-win situation ສະຖານະການ win-winsathanakan winwin
Mediation ການໄກ່ເກ່ຍkan kai keny
Arbitration ການຊີ້ຂາດkan si khad
Resolution ຄວາມລະອຽດkhuaam laoiad
Closing the deal ປິດຂໍ້ຕົກລົງ pid khotoklong
Impasse ຂາດເຂີນkhadkhoen

Business Meetings And Etiquette In Lao

In the world of business, etiquette is not only expressed verbally but also in the language of our bodies. Let us look at etiquette in business meetings that is universally understood, even in Laos!

Greeting and BowingA respectful bow and greeting upon entering.
Dress CodeBusiness attire is formal and modest.
Addressing OthersUse titles and last names, adding “Khun” (Mr/Mrs).
PunctualityArrive on time, but meetings may start late.
Small TalkBegin with casual conversation before diving in.
Respectful CommunicationMaintain a calm, polite, and non-confrontational tone.
SeniorityShow deference to older or higher-ranked individuals.
Gift GivingOffering a small gift is a sign of goodwill.
Taking NotesNote-taking is common and shows engagement.
Business CardsExchange cards with both hands and examine them.
Waiting for PermissionWait for the most senior person to start the meeting.
Avoid Direct ConfrontationDisagreements are addressed subtly and indirectly.
Group ConsensusDecisions are often made collectively.
Tea and SnacksServed during meetings as a hospitality gesture.
Expressing GratitudeThank your hosts at the end of the meeting.

Financial And Economic Terms

Let’s look at this money-related business vocabulary!

English TranslationLaoRomanization
Economy ເສດຖະກິດ sedthakid
Inflation ອັດຕາເງິນເຟີ້ adta ngoenfoe
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ລວມຍອດຜະລິດຕະພັນພາຍໃນ luamnyodphalidtaphanphainai
Stock Market ຕະ​ຫຼາດ​ຫຸ້ນta rad hun
Investment ການລົງທຶນkanlongthun
Budget ງົບປະມານngobpaman
Tax ພາສີ phasi
Interest Rate ອັດ​ຕາ​ດອກ​ເບ້ຍad ta dok beny
Exchange Rate ອັດ​ຕາ​ແລກ​ປ່ຽນad ta aelk pian
Debt ໜີ້ສິນnisin
Trade Balance ຍອດການຄ້າnyod kankha
Foreign Investment ການລົງທຶນຕ່າງປະເທດ kanlongthun tangpathed
Savings ເງິນຝາກປະຢັດngoenfak payad
Incentive ແຮງຈູງໃຈaehng chung chai

Legal And Regulatory Terms

Be aware of the legal terms to give a layer of protection to your business/businesses. Become a legally-knowledgeable businessman in the country of Laos!

English TranslationLaoRomanization
Law ກົດໝາຍkodmai
Regulation ລະບຽບlabiab
Contract ສັນຍາsnaia
Agreement ຂໍ້ຕົກລົງ khotoklong
Intellectual Property ຊັບສິນທາງປັນຍາsabsinthangpnaia
Patent ສິດທິບັດ sidthi bad
Trademark ເຄື່ອງຫມາຍການຄ້າ kheuongmai kankha
Copyright ລິຂະສິດlikhasid
License ໃບອະນຸຍາດbaioanunyad
Compliance ການປະຕິບັດຕາມkan patibadtam
Business License ໃບອະນຸຍາດທຸລະກິດ baioanunyad thulakid
Liability ຄວາມຮັບຜິດຊອບkhuaamhabphidsob

Setting Up A Business In Laos

The business world in Laos is closely related to that of neighbors China and Vietnam. It is important to understand a little of the history to understand the landscape.

China under Mao Zedong was the first real Communist superpower in the region. Mao had a vision of economics radically different from free-market capitalism. Communes would be set up in the countryside, and there’d be no such thing as private property. By his death in the late 70s, the policy had become unsustainable. The Chinese government under Deng Xiaoping introduced free-market reforms turning China into the prosperous country it is today.

In many ways, China is like the planet Jupiter, and the countries surrounding it are like its moons. Whenever China does something, the rest are compelled to follow. When traditional communism failed in China, it also failed in Laos(and Vietnam). It took a few years for the free-market reforms to begin working, but between 1988 and 2008, the average annual growth rate of the economy was 6%. This is almost impossible to conceive of. Only a few countries in history had grown so fast.

However, there is still a significant hangover from the Communist days. Communism was notorious for the sheer level of red tape. Laos, in many respects, is still like that now, and the amount of forms that have to be lodged with the government is maddening. Some include a name reservation certificate, an operating license, and a tax registration certificate. Many Western business owners often partner with a Lao native just to avoid some of these headaches.

The ease of doing business survey, an affiliate of the World Bank, says the biggest obstacle of doing business in Laos is the tax rate, followed by the access to finance, and then the inadequately educated workforce.

The tax rate can be explained by the fact that Laos is still a communist country. Laos is behind Vietnam and Thailand and way behind China in educating the workforce. The problem is that Laos is far more rural than these places. It was allowed to wallow under the rule of the French, whereas other territories like Vietnam became developed. The topography of the place presented all sorts of challenges for any planners who wanted to develop it into a modern industrial hub. Building transport lines is notoriously difficult in a country covered in a mountainous jungle. China has attempted to change that by offering Laos technical assistance in recent years.

Lao business vocabulary

Lao Work Culture

Everyday life working in the city is not quite as strenuous as you might imagine. Lao white-collar workers work 35 hours per week, much like English speakers. 

Lao Business Trends

The biggest industries in recent years have been hydropower, mining, logging, and construction. If you read our article on Lao natural disasters, you’ll know how controversial the hydropower initiative is. For a start, much of the power is exported out of Laos, and the many dams are putting local fishermen out of work and increasing flood risks.

What is particularly noticeable when you travel around the Lao countryside is the amount of illegal logging. For example, in 2013, Laos exported 1.4 million cubic meters of wood to neighboring countries. That was ten times higher than laid down by government law. This adds to problems exacerbated by natural disasters. 

Laos applied for membership to the World Trade Organisation in 1997 and was officially accepted in 2013.

Lao business vocabulary

Learn The Lao Language With Ling

The benefits of learning Lao are vast. If you’re thinking of crossing the border and doing business in Northeast Thailand, a solid foundation in Lao will help you with the Thai language.

One of the main takeaways from this article should be that Laos is a land of great opportunity. However, what’s undeniable is that it has workforce problems. Outside the cities, the level of any English, whether academic or social, is very limited. If you want to set up a business in Laos, you must learn some languages.

That is where Ling comes in. Ling is an app with bite-sized lessons that will take you from Lao zero to hero. We have reading, speaking, listening(recorded by native speakers), and grammar guides for those tricky grammar rules. Not forgetting you can learn the Lao alphabet with our Lao writing system.

For a practical dictionary, check out our sister app, Simplylearn.

Don’t miss out on this blog updated weekly. Some related topics include moods and emotions and useful words and phrases in Lao. That’s all for today. Come over and learn Lao now.

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